Earlier this month, Australia’s outgoing Threatened Species Commissioner Gregory Andrews told ABC radio that land clearing is not the biggest threat to Australia’s wildlife. His claim caused a stir among Australia’s biodiversity scientists and conservation professionals, who have plenty of evidence to the contrary.
The ecologist Jared Diamond has described an “evil quartet” of threatening processes that drive species to extinction: habitat destruction; overhunting (or overexploitation); the presence of introduced species; and chains of linked ecological changes, including co-extinctions.
In modern times we can add two more to this list. The first is catastrophic disease outbreaks, such as the chytrid fungus that has been instrumental in the catastrophic decline or extinction of almost 200 frog species, or the facial tumour disease that still threatens to wipe out Tasmanian devils in the wild.
The second is human-induced climate change, which appears to have caused one extinction in Australian Territories and is predicted to result in many more.
So the evil quartet has now become an evil sextet. It sounds ugly because it is. But does habitat loss through land clearing still top the list? The answer, in short, is yes.Read more
Tree clearing is out of control in Queensland. Since 2013 one million hectares has been cleared or notified to be cleared. That's like lining up 1,200 bulldozers side by side and driving them from Brisbane to Cairns.
We need your help to end this destructive process. Our politicians need to hear that destroying trees to extinction — and threatening the wildlife that depends on trees — is not right. They must act to introduce strong tree clearing laws in this state.
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"If you lined up more than 1200 bulldozers side by side and cleared a path from Brisbane to Cairns that’s the area that has been and is being bulldozed since the LNP gutted the protections against runaway bulldozing of habitat." says Martin Taylor from WWF Australia.
More than one million hectares of bushland, forests and woodland have been cleared of trees since the Newman Government removed controls on tree clearing in Queensland.
We must let the Queensland Government know that it is unacceptable to put our wildlife, rivers and the Great Barrier Reef at risk by allowing tree clearing to continue.
Sign our petition to say that you want strong laws that protect wildlife habitat from tree clearing right across Queensland.
We are calling on all political parties to end the destruction of habitats by strengthening our tree clearing laws via a 10 Point Plan to Reduce Tree Clearing:
- Use all available means to immediately protect forests and woodlands currently under threat from tree clearing, including declarations prohibiting clearing in sensitive Queensland areas;
- Permanently protect remnant/old-growthforestsandwoodlandsfrombeingcleared;
- Apply a consistent approach to protection of forests and woodlands across all sectors responsible for excessive tree clearing (including agriculture, urban development and mining);
- Ensure strong monitoring, enforcement and resourcing of tree clearing laws;
- Remove high risk self-assessable clearing codes, particularly for ‘thinning’;
- Continue to improve mapping for vegetation and halt exemptions via property maps;
- Establish a land carbon fund and resource relevant state departments to research land carbon opportunities for Queensland land holders;
- Ensure all clearing is referred to the Australian Government for approval, if it is likely to impact on protected matters under Federal environmental law;
- Commit to regular (minimum annual) full reporting of clearing data and impacts.